Lawyers dispute statute of limitations in corruption case

The corruption trial of Donald Davidson was delayed two days Monday as prosecutors and defense attorneys continued to argue over charges the real estate consultant faces.

Jury selection for Davidson’s trial had been expected to begin Monday. U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt agreed to postpone the proceedings until Wednesday while attorneys haggle over whether one of the charges has exceeded the statute of limitations.

Davidson was indicted in 2005 on charges related to paying former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny $200,000 in exchange for Kenny’s assistance in changing a zoning designation to allow for a drugstore near homes at Buffalo Drive and Desert Inn Road. The vote took place in 2001.

At the core of the disagreement is whether an additional charge of conspiracy listed in a second superseding indictment against Davidson should stand or whether it should be tossed because of a five-year statute of limitations.

The superseding indictment, issued in 2006, charges Davidson with conspiracy in connection with a proposed neighborhood casino in the community of Spring Valley.

According to the indictment, Kenny pushed that project through at Davidson’s urging.

Kenny testified last year that Davidson gave her $3,000 a month on behalf of the casino developer after her vote in 2000. Davidson worked as a lobbyist for the developer.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Schiess claims Kenny was influenced by money when she worked toward getting the drugstore and casino approved.

In court documents, Schiess has argued that Davidson demonstrated the same corrupt pattern of behavior when lobbying Kenny to approve the CVS zoning designation and the casino. Because the scheme spanned years, a statute of limitations should not apply to the conspiracy count related to the casino, he said.

Davidson’s attorney, Dominic Gentile, has argued that the alleged pattern of behavior was not the same.

While the government claims Kenny received $200,000 in exchange for her vote on the pharmacy land, Gentile believes no evidence exists that Kenny received bribe money for the casino vote.

“There is no evidence, specifically no witness that will testify that the vote in January 2000 relating to the Spring Valley Casino was the result of bribes or promises of any benefit to County Commissioners,” Gentile wrote in opposition of the second superseding indictment.

Even if Davidson and Kenny had an agreement before the vote, the act of conspiracy would have been completed once the vote took place, Gentile said.

“Thus, the overt act of the January 2000 vote would have triggered the five-year statute of limitations,” he wrote. “Anything that occurred after the vote, such as Erin Kenny receiving monthly payments, was not bargained for by her and therefore could not be considered an overt act.

“If there was any illegal agreement associated with either of the events, they were separate conspiracies,” Gentile wrote.

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